With two days of celebration and festivity, St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, formally inaugurated on February 26 its 24th president, Dr. Montserrat ‘Montse’ Fuentes. St. Edward’s University is a sponsored ministry of the Brothers of Holy Cross through the Moreau Province.
Dr. Fuentes, a native of Spain, earned a Doctorate in Statistics from the University of Chicago. With two decades of experience in higher education, she has served on various committees and advisory boards, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institute of Health. She is the first Hispanic to serve as President of the University.
On February 25, the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, celebrated the Mass of Investiture of the new President in the University’s Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel. Concelebrants at the Mass included Fr. Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C.; Trustee, Fr. Peter Walsh, C.S.C., Director of Campus Ministry; and Fr. Felipe Campos, C.S.C., Associate Pastor of St. Ignatius the Martyr Parish. Br. Larry Atkinson, C.S.C., served as the Master of Ceremonies. At the Mass and on behalf of the Congregation, Br. Thomas Dziekan, C.S.C., Superior of the Moreau Province, offered a special blessing to Dr. Fuentes.
In her inauguration speech, “Destination University for a More Just World,” Dr. Fuentes remained future-oriented and spoke about the five main goals of the university’s 2022-2027 strategic plan--academic excellence and distinction, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice--aligning them with Holy Cross values.
“At St. Edward’s, we say the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart,” Dr. Fuentes said. “We cannot predict what the future holds, but we are prepared for whatever it brings. We shall remain true to who were are as a Holy Cross, Catholic University that teaches its student consciousness, collaboration, and the courage to act.”
Other inaugural highlights included a luncheon and cake cutting, an exhibit featuring the artwork of the Brothers of Holy Cross, an academic showcase, a Ballet Folklorico performance, and a celebration with food trucks and live music.